Painting Communion by
I had 3 years since I completed recording The Act of Being Free in One Act, my first CD, to work on the music for this one, and the pieces here go beyond what I was able to do then in lots of ways. I wanted also with this release to include pieces that need more than a single instrument to tell their story. Bob Dylan did a lot to popularize the harmonica, and his work must be sung as well as played; for It Takes a Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry, the singer is Susan Hunter-Cutrona, with whom I have worked off and on since 1983. Blue Hunter was inspired by Cootie Williamss trumpet in Duke Ellingtons Concerto for Cootie, and the melody says a lot more when you can hear the chord changes under it. I have performed How Long Have I Loved You solo on several occasions, and Jerome Harriss accompaniment on this and Blue Hunter lets me do much more than I ever could in a solo performance.
As on my first CD, no overdubs are used in these recordings. I intend to continue this tradition on my next release, which will feature a rhythm section and vocalist, and in which I will apply the discoveries I have made in my solo work to an ensemble context (before someone else does).
My thanks to the people who assisted in the making of this record: my engineer, Chuck Eller, my co-producer, Patty Hunter, my daughter and vocalist, Susan Hunter-Cutrona, my guitarist, Jerome Harris, and Dean Hunter-Cutrona, whose paintings make my records look good. My thanks as well to Gartner Group, SPAH, the New England Folk Festival Association, and all the other musicians and venues that have kept me working and playing for the last three years; to Pete Pedersen, Blackie Schackner, Harry Bee, Peter Ruth, Danny Wilson, and all the musicians whose support has meant so much to me; and to Samuel J. Gravina, who provided the title for this CD.
I dedicate this recording to my wife Patty, the love of my life. I also want to remember John Mayall here. In my early youth I knew his music was beautiful, but I have only recently appreciated how much courage he showed in exposing himself so completely in his music and lyrics. I hear his music — especially his voice and the striking individuality of his arrangements, and most especially the loud, intensely emotional album A Hard Road — in my head now as I did then, everywhere I go.